Alexei Jankowski was born in 1968 in Leningrad, Russia.
He comes from a family of orientalists, his father, Igor Diakonoff, was the author of, among other things, numerous translations of poetry in both ancient and modern languages, and his mother, Ninel Jankowska, was a historian of the culture of the Near East.
He obtained a degree in Ancient History in 1990, before beginning his filmmaking studies in 1991 at La Femis in France. He received his diploma in Film Direction in 1995.
He then returned to Russia to continue his work with Alexander Sokurov, which had begun in 1987 as an actor (The Days of Eclipse, 1988), and assistant cameraman (The Evening Sacrifice, 1988). Film editor and supervisor of special effects (Moloch – video version, 1999, Dolce, 1999) assistant director and co-director of production (Elegy of a Voyage, 2001); coordinator of numerous retrospectives of the films of Alexander Sokurov, such as the comprehensive retrospectives in Sao Paolo in 2002 and in Turin in 2003; sales manager, translator, designer and co-editor of the documentary film collection (more than 30 titles).
He has written and directed numerous documentaries and short films, such as Laterna (fictional short film, 1996), Night, Spring (documentary, 1997, First Prize for Documentary at the St. Anne Competition, Moscow), The Kirkenes Ethics (documentary, 1998), The Little Red Tram, (documentary, 2001), Un Vent Leger, (A Slight Breeze) (documentary, 2003, Special Prize at the Cinema and Literature Festival, Gatchina, Russia). His works have been shown at many festivals and have been broadcast on Russian television.